Charles Dickens is without doubt a literary giant. The most widely read author of his own generation, his works remain incredibly popular and important today. Often seen as the quintessential Victorian novelist, his texts convey perhaps better than any others the drive for wealth and progress and the social contrasts that characterised the Victorian era. His works are widely studied throughout the world both as literary masterpieces and as classic examples of the nineteenth century novel. Combining a biographical approach with close reading of the novels, Donald Hawes offers an illuminating portrait of Dickens as a writer and insight into his life and times. This book will provide a short, lively but sophisticated introduction to Dickens's work and the personal and social context in which it was written.